UKIBC’s 2nd Virtual Higher Education Delegation 2022

By Kealan Finnegan, Tara Panjwani

On 18-19 January, the UK India Business Council hosted its second virtual Higher Education Delegation.

The aim of this mission was to showcase the positive transformation of India’s HE sector since the launch of the NEP and consequently, highlight the exciting new opportunities for UK universities to engage more deeply with Indian institutions, Indian industry and the Indian government.

Day 1

Welcome Briefing

Our first day kicked off with a very informative welcome briefing featuring an impressive array of speakers from key stakeholder organisations including the Association of Indian Universities (AIU), the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), and the British Council.

The session set out the evolving Indian HE policy landscape for UK universities, the emerging trends shaping this sector and the various new channels of engagement with Indian HE partners. It also addressed the common challenges and the various support mechanisms available for British institutions who want to do more in India.


  • Kevin McCole, Managing Director, UKIBC
  • Tara Panjwani, Associate Director, UKIBC
  • Dr Vidya Yeravdekar, Chairperson of FICCI’s Higher Education Committee & Pro Chancellor, Symbiosis International University
  • Rowan Kennedy, Deputy Director – India, British Council
  • Dr (Mrs) Pankaj Mittal, Secretary General, Association of Indian Universities

Roundtable on Winning Over an Indian Student with Great British Magazine

This session, in partnership with GB Mag, unpacked what makes the UK a desirable destination for Indian students today and looked at future trends shaping higher education and student mobility from India to the UK.

The event hosted a panel discussion that looked at recruitment challenges faced by UK universities, winning strategies that appeal to Indian students, and the all-important student perspective. The session featured expert tips shared by in-country university representatives as well fantastic insights from a recent Indian graduate who shared why she chose the UK over other study destinations as well as areas in which UK universities could improve in ensuring a very positive experience for their Indian students.


  • John Mountford, HE Associate Director, UKIBC
  • Wahida Ashiq, Founder & CEO, GB Mag
  • Tushar Chaudhary, Associate Director, UKIBC
  • Muskan Arora, Indian student currently in the UK
  • Vir Anand, University of St Andrews
  • Vatsal Chandra, University of Essex


Day 2

Taxation in the Higher Education Sector for Transnational Educational Programmes with Nishith Desai Associates

Day 2 kicked off with some much-needed practical advice around Transnational Education programmes (TNE). Ashish Sodhani and Aarushi Jain from Nishith Desai Associates (NDA) shared a comprehensive and informative presentation on the complex taxation and regulatory developments in the higher education sector for UK universities interested to form TNE partnerships in India. During the discussion, our expert duo delved into the structures and tax implications of a variety of HE models with a special focus on the Equalisation Levy (EL).


  • Ashish Sodhani, Leader – International Tax Advisory & Litigation, Nishith Desai Associates
  • Aarushi Jain, Leader – IP and Education Practice Group, Nishith Desai Associates
  • Tara Panjwani, Associate Director, UKIBC

Building University Corporate Partnerships

The final event of our delegation was a brilliant roundtable dedicated to mark the first anniversary of one of our flagship initiatives in the HE sector titled ‘University – Corporate Partnership (UCP).’  Featuring a glittering panel of distinguished speakers from major Indian businesses, as well as leading UK universities and an award-winning Indian HE institution, this rich discussion drilled down on how to improve and enhance engagement between UK universities and Indian corporates to bring about sustainable partnerships, addressed key challenges, highlighted best practices and shared practical advice for both sets of stakeholders. An excellent way to wrap up an excellent couple of days and a great way for our universities to kick off the new year – full of promise and enthusiasm !


  • Ellen Fischer, Head of Strategic Hiring Europe, Wipro
  • Payal Singh Chauhan, Marketing Analyst (Global Academic Relations), Infosys
  • Mark Jefferies, Chief of University Research Liaison, Honorary Professor, Rolls-Royce
  • V.M. Bansal, Chairman and CEO, New Delhi Institute of Management (NDIM)
  • Kevin McCole, Managing Director, UKIBC
  • Tushar Chaudhary, Associate Director, UKIBC


Many thanks to all who participated in our virtual higher education delegation, we hope our next one will be in person with you all!

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